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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Proposed all-day kindergarten program would target struggling readers

Nearly a fifth of Idaho kindergartners could qualify for a proposed new state-funded, all-day kindergarten program aimed at students who are struggling with reading, Idaho EdNews reports; the plan is being pushed by the state Board of Education and would carry an annual price tag of $9.8 million. The program would be optional both for parents and for school districts; EdNews reporter Kevin Richert writes that last year, 49 of Idaho’s 115 districts and eight charter schools offered all-day kindergarten to at least some of their students. In some cases, districts have used state dollars to pick up half of the cost, as the state funds half-day kindergarten, and billed parents for the extra half day of school.

However, Richert notes that the plan would have to win support in the 2016 Legislature, in a state where kindergarten remains optional and lawmakers have been reluctant to address early education; Idaho is one of six states that provides no state funding for pre-K education.

State schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra supports the concept but didn’t include the item in her budget proposal for the coming year, Richert writes; but it could be in Gov. Butch Otter’s budget proposal, as he’s been a strong supporter of the 20 recommendations of his education improvement task force, where the plan originated.

The task force called for a five-year strategy to address literacy, aimed at making sure students can read “before moving on to significant content learning.” The all-day kindergarten plan is the first step in the $21.5 million literacy strategy. You can read Richert’s full report here.

It’s time to register

If your child will be 5 on or before Aug. 31, it's almost time to register for kindergarten.

Spokane Public Schools will begin registration on March 2. 

Central Valley School District kindergarten registration begin on March 5.

Families can register at their neighborhood elementary schools in the appropriate district.

What you'll need: a birth certificate or other verification of age, proof of residency and the student’s immunization records.

Ground control to Major Liam

Some Spokane kindergarten kids were asked what they want to be when they grow up.

One boy said "astronaut."

Which makes you wonder about his plan. What's your guess?

A) He is counting on the U.S. getting back into space exploration. B) He soon will be transferring to a school in China. C) He intends to build his own rocket in his backyard. D) He thought that was synonymous with "proctologist." E) By the time he is 16, he will be thinking more along the lines of a position in the service industry. F) Other.     

Caldwell kindergarten teacher put 5-year-old in dark room, forgot him and left for the day

A 5-year-old boy was placed in a dark room by his kindergarten teacher at a Caldwell elementary school, KTVB-TV reports, and the teacher then forgot about the child and left for the day. The boy's parents, panicked when their son didn't return from morning kindergarten, went to the school and found him in the darkened room, crying; he'd been there at least an hour and a half. You can read KTVB's full report here.

Solon Wants To Eliminate K-Teachers

Item: Emmett Republican wants overhaul of Idaho’s kindergarten system/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter

More Info: Rep. Steve Thayn, R-Emmett, wants to completely overhaul the Gem State’s kindergarten system and integrate parents into the education process.  The move, Thayn believes, would save more than $50 million and that’s a figure he is counting on for the plan to gain traction with state representatives and senators.

Question: Do you think Idaho could keep kindergarten going if it eliminated teachers in favor of volunteer parents?